Robots are beginning to transform farming in the US, from autonomous mowing and plowing to so-called precision agriculture, a data-based approach to planting and harvesting crops. The agricultural robot market is expected to grow to $16.3B by 2020 from $817M in 2013, according to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research report.
And, the report says, one large segment of that market will be drones. The agricultural drone market has the potential to generate an additional 100,000 jobs in the US and $82 billion in economic activity between 2015 and 2025, according to the report. With GoPro launching a drone in 2016 and drones hitting shelves at the Apple Store, consumer-targeted drones are taking off. But Bank of America Merrill Lynch anticipates that drones will see even more liftoff in the agriculture industry, predicting that 80 per cent of the commercial market for drones will eventually be dedicated to agriculture.